SNHU - IT-420 Advanced Information Systems Implementation
Written by: Chris Bell - August, 2014
Technology System Conversion Strategy
Abrupt and Parallel conversion strategies: The most common conversion plans include either abrupt or parallel and their definitions are similar to how they sound. Abrupt conversions happen on a specific day by canceling the old and implementing the new. Parallel conversions keep the old system active while the new system transitions into the company processes and procedures. After a few months the parallel conversion is over and the new system takes over completely.
Location and Staged conversion strategies: Location and staged conversions can be completed in the manner of abrupt or parallel. Some companies have multiple locations and the standard practice is to complete the entire transition in a single location before attempting to convert the system company wide. Location conversions can be abrupt or parallel depending on the current status of the company. Staged conversions update systems in stages. As each piece of the system is built and tested it can be implemented before additional stages are complete.
Recommended conversion strategy for CTTS: I would recommend the parallel conversion for the Customer Technology Tracking System so that their current system can still be used while the conversion is taking place. Since they're melding two systems together it will be easier to conduct user training if both systems are available for use during a period of time.
Sources for documentation: Creating a user manual will make it easier to train new employees and existing employees on new systems. The new software will have manuals, but the manufacturer manual should be converted into an overall system manual specific to the company. Any new processes or procedures that changed when the new system was implemented will need to be documented in the manual.
Outline of a proposal User manual: An outline for a new manual that specifically addresses the new system and its new processes will consist of how do complete each operation step-by-step. The manual will need to reflect more efficient ways of doing things compared to how they were conducted in the old system. Employees should be demanded to stop old habits and start new habits that will make them quicker when they're accustomed to the new system.
Recommended Format for Manual (Hard copy vs. Online): I recommend an online format (Help tab). Since the system is being built with a web application the users should be able to maneuver around without any issues. Employees should be encouraged to use the Help tab before looking for help from management. A hard copy of the manual can be available upon request, however a printed copy can be old news as soon as you walk back to your desk with it. Employees with printed copies need to be notified that the manual had a revision change. Online users can see the most updated version at any given time.
Staff responsibilities: The systems analyst will provide documentation and training for users. Owners and users will be involved in the meetings to learn the new capabilities of the system and the changes that will take place. It's a good idea to conduct training methods with the company's managers when possible so that the system instructions can directly relate to the company goals that are based on the implementation of the new system.
Review of training alternatives: Users can be trained one-on-one or in group sessions and both options have their advantages. One-on-one sessions have personal attention while group sessions take less time and cost less money. More often than not, group sessions will be conducted and users can ask questions within the session.
Recommended training plan for CTTS: I believe the group sessions with the systems analyst will work for the conversion. One-on-one attention isn't necessary for the system at hand, however if a user requests a short time of personal attention to address concerns it can be done. I would also make sure the manager of the department is present for the group training sessions so that he/she can add relate the system changes to company procedures and goals.
Staff responsibilities: The IT manager and the systems analyst will conduct the meetings with the owner and users. Users will be required to follow the new procedures for entering data and running reports. The steps of their daily routine may change and, while feedback is appreciated, conformity is demanded. The systems analyst needs to also take in user feedback so that they can make a few more changes before implementing the new system.